Of all of the aspects I adore about Austin, the city’s emphasis on and love for fitness and health has always excited me. The trail around Lady Bird Lake is full of runners and dog walkers, and there’s a new juice shop just about anywhere you look. Though other cities are finally trending towards healthier food and restaurant options, Austin truly is a leader in this domain (hint, hint…Whole Foods).
Living in Austin also allows me to easily embrace local, seasonal produce from farmers’ markets that I incorporate in my own cooking. And though I love creating healthy meals at home, I’ve also made it a mission to explore the many Austin restaurants dedicated to fresh, nutritious dishes.
There is an enormous array of clean eating options in town, but below are my top picks and frequent go-to’s. These restaurants and juice stops are guaranteed to make you feel as fresh as the ingredients that go into the dishes they serve!
If you’re looking for atmosphere as colorful as the food, you’ve come to the right place. The decor itself transports you to a health nut’s version of heaven, and the menu has an incredible array of salads, grain bowls, wraps and veggies using locally-sourced, sustainably-raised and organic ingredients. Even non-veggie lovers won’t be able to stay out of their craveable sides.
My picks: Vegan Ingredient Salad with Sustainable Salmon, Vietnamese Crunch Salad, Mother Earth Bowl with Grass-Fed Steak, Roasted Butternut Squash, Yuzu Brussels Sprouts, Spicy Japanese Eggplant
Smoothie bowls are all over the place these days, but Blenders & Bowls was truly the first to popularize these beautiful and nutritious treats in Austin. You can customize any of their bowls as you wish, and they always have creative seasonal specials. It’s exactly what you need on those sweltering summer days or after a sweaty yoga class!
My picks: The Chill Berry, The Green Bowl, The Bowl of Paradise, The Nutty by Nature
True Food has been one of my longtime favorite locations for a healthy date night dinner or an easy lunch with friends. They live by the motto “honest food that tastes really good,” and all of their dishes are full of flavor minus the junk you don’t want. From cocktails with a healthy twist, seasonally inspired salads, pizzas and more, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy.
My picks: Kale Guacamole, Shiitake Lettuce Cups, Seasonal Ingredient Salad, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Ancient Grains Bowl, Kale-Aid
Whether it’s sitting outside at their South 1st restaurant or swinging through the North Lamar drive-through, Fresa’s never disappoints. They provide a healthy spin on classic dishes with incredibly tasty wood-grilled vegetables and proteins. Here, you don’t have to sacrifice a nourishing, clean meal when you have a hankering for Mexican food.
My picks: Power Bowl, Jerez Salad, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Wood-Grilled Cauliflower, Green Apple Guacamole
Austin is known for its abundance of food trucks, but Curcuma is unlike any other. They live by the notion of “food with intention,” and their menu shows just that. Their superfood coffees, tonics, smoothies, elixirs, bowls, broths and sweet treats are all plant-based and inspired by Ayurvedic medicine. They’ve even developed Austin’s first Golden Mylk that’s gained huge popularity, and I couldn’t be more on board. Check out this adorable East side food truck, and I guarantee you’ll leave feeling like a new person.
My picks: Golden Mylk, Spiced Cacao, Turmeric Gold Shot, Fire Cider, Kitchari Bowl, Spirulina Pesto Bowl, Green Detox Broth, Golden Fat Bombs, Stuffed Date Bites.
You’ve likely seen their colorful bottled juices in stores and groceries all over town, but their South Lamar location has so much more to offer than drinks alone. Check out their Make Your Own Adaptogen Latte menu, smoothie bowls, toasts and more. Plus, their space is the most aesthetically pleasing and zen location to spend your morning.
My picks: Hyperlink Juice, Daytripper Granola, Golden Latte, Superfood Matcha Latte, Tropical Greens Smoothie Bowl, Coconut Yogurt Parfait
If you’re in need of a healthy and filling dose of greens after a big night out, Vinaigrette will do the trick. They have every salad and sandwich you might want, washed down with a cocktail, drinking vinegar, juice or kombucha. Enjoy the gorgeous Austin weather on their iconic outdoor patio.
My picks: The Omega Salad with Cilantro Lime Shrimp, Vinny Nicoise Salad, La Pepita Salad, Cherry Tart Salad with Lemon-Herb Chicken Breast, Roasted Seasonal Vegetables
You can spot Picnik’s signature Butter Coffee in Whole Foods stores all over, but their Austin flagship restaurant and multiple trailers have so much more to offer. I can’t get enough of their inventive specialty coffees, seasonal dishes and nutritious desserts. Plus, they source all of their ingredients locally when possible and accommodate their menu to fit all dietary restrictions and preferences.
My picks: Harvest Hash, Superfood Muesli, Loaded Guacamole, Rainbow Chopped Salad with Blackened Salmon, Thai Red Curry, Golden Milk Matcha Latte, Mayan Mocha Latte
This classic Austin institution has long been a staple for health nuts. I’ve always loved their array of juices, hot drinks, shots and snacks but just recently discovered the incredible meal options they offer as well. If you’re on the move and need a quick and healthy lunch, JuiceLand is the perfect solution. Their meals are not only plant-based and vegan but also filling and tasty so you can take on the rest of your day.
My picks: Watermelon Juice, Ninja Bachelor Party, Liquid Gold Drop, Fixer Elixir, Hot Shot, Chow Fun Veggie Bowl, Middle East Feast, Gluten Free Crackers, Kale Chips
On the days when life gets crazy and the fridge is empty come dinner time, Snap Kitchen is an absolute savior. They have a huge variety of pre-made, healthy meals for every type of diet. They offer full subscription services for multiple days’ meals, customizable to your preferences and goals. Personally, I tend to pop in when I’m in need of a quick yet nutritious meal on the go, and their array of tasty options never disappoints. PLUS, they’re one of the few places in town that carries Coconut Cult and other specialty items!
My picks: Chicken Fried Broccoli Rice, Veggie Taco Bowl, Tahini Power Bowl, Romesco Salmon, Thai Grain Bowl, Chicken Turmeric Bone Broth
While Whole Foods seems like an obvious choice for healthy eats in any city, the flagship store here in Austin is truly an experience. Along with areas dedicated to make-your-own tacos, stir fry, fresh juice, sandwiches, barbecue and sushi are a sit down seafood restaurant and hot and cold salad bars that go on forever. You could truly eat here daily and still never be disappointed.
My Picks: Hot/cold bar, Asian Express sushi, make your own stir fry
Cava is a relatively new addition to the downtown food scene, opening in the fall of 2018, but it’s quickly become a favorite of many. The options for making your own salad or grain bowl (or a mix of the two!) are truly endless. You can customize with a variety of protein, vegetables, dips/spreads and toppings as you please. I’m a huge fan of Mediterranean flavors and could live on hummus alone, so Cava is the perfect, easy place to pick up a tasty, veggie-packed meal.
My Picks: Greens or Greens & Grains with Eggplant & Red Pepper Dip, Hummus or Red Pepper Hummus, Roasted Seasonal Veggies, Grilled Chicken or Falafel, Pickled Onions & Banana Peppers, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Olives and Cauliflower Quinoa Tabbouleh